The Florida Panthers will be back in the Southeast Rookie Showcase next month and will be the host team in Estero.
The four-team showcase — Tampa Bay, Carolina and Nashville will all return — will be held at Hertz Arena about 90 minutes northwest of the Panthers’ arena in Sunrise.
Hertz Arena, of course, is the home of the ECHL Florida Everblades.
The four-team event, which is open and free to the public, will be held from Sept. 15-18 with each team playing the other participants once.
This will be the prelude to full training camp with some of Florida’s younger players participating before joining the rest of the team in South Florida.
The Rookie Showcase is different from development camp as those who will be playing college hockey this coming season will not participate due to NCAA rules.
Junior and European players, however, are welcome to join in.
The good news for the Panthers is that top prospects Mackie Samoskevich and Mike Benning have left school to sign and will start their first pro seasons — and both are, baring injury, expected to participate in Estero.
Samoskevich signed his entry-level contract with the Panthers after a brief stint with the AHL Charlotte Checkers following a standout sophomore season at the University of Michigan.
Benning also signed on with the Panthers after finishing his season at the University of Denver.
A number of players who were drafted by the Panthers in June, including Gracyn Sawchyn, are also expected to take part in the Rookie Showcase before joining the rest of the team for the start of training camp.
Full rosters, including unsigned prospects the Panthers may bring in, will be announced prior to the tournament.
2023 Southeast Rookie Showcase Schedule
At Hertz Arena, Estero
Friday, Sept. 15: Nashville Predators vs. Tampa Bay Lightning, 4; Florida Panthers vs. Carolina Hurricanes, 7
Saturday, Sept. 16: Carolina Hurricanes vs. Tampa Bay Lightning, 3; Florida Panthers vs. Nashville Predators, 6
Sunday, Sept. 17: Practice day
Monday, Sept. 18: Nashville Predators vs. Carolina Hurricanes, 10 a.m.; Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Florida Panthers, 1 p.m.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
- Now: Free agency period is open
- Sept. 15-18: Rookie Showcase (vs. Carolina, Tampa Bay and Nashville), Estero
- Mid-September: Training Camp, South Florida
- Sept. 25: Preseason starts; Doubleheader v. Nashville @ Sunrise
- Oct. 7: Preseason ends; v. Tampa Bay Lightning @ Sunrise
- Oct. 12: Start of 2023-24 Regular Season at Minnesota Wild
- Oct. 19: 2023-24 Home Opener vs. Toronto Maple Leafs